Although a sudden summer storm passed through the National Training Center and Fort Irwin the morning of July 4, Mother Nature did not rain on Fort Irwinâ€™s party. The second annual Red, White and Boom! Bash was held at Army Field that afternoon. Soldiers and families made their way out of their homes to the field and enjoyed the festivities that ranged from childrenâ€™s rides, games, food, opportunity drawings, two concerts and a fireworks show.
The gates opened at 4:30 p.m. About an hour later, Fort Irwin Garrison commander Col. Kurt Pinkerton took the stage to welcome the attendees and to thank sponsors of the event.
â€œFirst and foremost, I hope everyone has a great time tonight,â€ Pinkerton said. â€œToday is a celebration of our birthday, and the founding of our country. Itâ€™s also recognition for all the sacrifices, not only those that Soldiers and civilians who serve in the Army deal with every single day of the year, but also the families, who have the same sacrifices as their Soldiers. They serve here at the National Training Center or deploy to fight. As you celebrate tonight, I ask that you keep in your heart and your mind our Soldiers, our brothers and sisters, who are deployed across the globe defending our freedoms.â€
The St. Pierre family, who has been stationed at the NTC and Fort Irwin for three years, said the event was good for the community.
â€œThey do an excellent job, as always,â€ said Sgt. 1st Class Ben St. Pierre, a helicopter mechanic with B Company in 2916th Aviation Battalion. â€œItâ€™s really nice, because weâ€™re [isolated] and they really do a good job in trying to make it a good community out here.â€
St. Pierreâ€™s wife, Luari, is a kindergarten teacher at Lewis Elementary School and said she loved the event.
â€œThis is a great opportunity for kids and families to just be together,â€ Lauri said.
Gunnar St. Pierre, 8, had fun climbing a rock wall and said he was looking forward to the fireworks.
Another child having fun that day was 8-year-old Josie Figueroa, who was escorting her sister, Sophia, 2, from game to game.
â€œI did the rock climbing,â€ said Josie. â€œIt was fun, because I like to climb.â€
A relative newcomer to Fort Irwin, Brandi Getz, said the event provided an opportunity for families to get out and meet each other. Getz, who arrived on post in January, is married to Sgt. Rusty Getz, a tanker with 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Her son Tyler, 3, got his face painted to resemble the comic book hero, Spider-Man.
â€œWhen the post holds different events like this, they can bring us together as a community,â€ Brandi said. â€œKids get to have a good time and get their faces painted, and just have a really great time.â€
Spc. Usman Khattak, a single Soldier and interpreter with 51st Tactical Interpreter Company, said that he felt really at ease at the event and gave him a feeling of being with family.
â€œSeeing kids and families around, brings me close to home,â€ Khattak said. â€œI just feel that, regardless that weâ€™re in a desert, today in this place, we are at home. Itâ€™s a great, family oriented event â€¦ and coming here, itâ€™s a pleasure.â€
For more photos of the day’s events, click here.